If you’ve ever watched birds on a feeder, it’s natural to try to count them. You count a few, you add two or three new ones that come, some fly away so you have to subtract. Before you know it, you’re doing Bird Math!
I used photos from when our feeder was mobbed by a flock of lesser goldfinches to reconstruct this experience. The resulting set of activities includes simple counting, adding numbers from one to ten, and subtracting from ten to zero.
I’ve marked the counting activity as Pre-K to first grade, and the other two activities are K-2. To make these simple math activities more fun, sound effects reinforce the number of birds on the feeder.
Count, Add, And Subtract Birds
In the counting activity, students hear as well as see one bird, then two, three, etc. up to the cacophony of ten birds cheeping madly as they jostle for space on the feeder. The next page is silent as they all fly away, but the last page promises more birds will come the next day and shows a movie of birds on the feeder.
In the addition and subtraction activities, a correct answer takes the student to a page with a photo of the required number of birds and a matching sound effect. A large numeral on the photo reinforces the answer.
Adding Birds has addition questions with answers ranging from 1 to 10. The correct answer page with the photo and bird sound also reads out the answer with feedback.
Similarly, Subtracting Birds has subtraction questions with answers from 0 to 9 and its answer pages have bird sounds and read out appropriate feedback.
Available In Many Formats
All three activities can be downloaded in Classroom Suite®, Clicker 5®, and HyperStudio 5® formats. I’ve also been able to set up all three for the online version and for the desktop version of the online book.
The Clicker version of the Bird Math activity set downloads as an integrated study unit. For details on integrated study units, click here.
The Classroom Suite version has custom IntelliKeys® overlays attached to each activity, and there are Dynavox® package versions of the overlays to run the activities from Dynavox AAC devices. See the Special Needs Access section on the System Reqs page for information on controlling the Classroom Suite version activities from PRC devices.
Refer to the HyperStudio is Back! page for information about downloading players to run these activities.
You can download Counting Birds alone in PowerPoint® and My Own Bookshelf® formats. Players are available to run My Own Bookshelf activities as a slideshow from a link here on the Help! page. There is also a printable PDF version, but it does not have the movie of birds on the feeder.
Extra Template In ICS
The IntelliTools Classroom Suite® download includes an extra activity, a template for constructing new addition and subtraction activities with different math problems. To use this template, be sure to download the photo collection, which you will need to set up question pages.
The answer pages are already set up, including feedback and bird sounds. All you have to do is add the photo and text to the question pages, and link them to the correct answer pages.
Bonus: Photos and Sounds!
Finally, I’ve given you the set of birds on the feeder graphics from 0-10. Through some PhotoShop® trickery, the feeder in each picture is in exactly the same place, so you could use these photos as frames in animation. By printing out the photos and combining them with printed math operators and numerals, you can create off-computer math exercises.
You also can download the full set of goldfinch sounds. These are based on a public domain sound, so feel free to use them in new activities.
Applications needed: Acrobat Reader, Clicker 5 or Clicker 6, HyperStudio 5, IntelliTools Classroom Suite, My Own Bookshelf, PowerPoint, Web browser.
Subject area: Math.
Level: Grades PreK-2.
Annie’s Books Online
Bird Math activities link: countingBirds/index.html Counting Birds, Adding Birds, and Subtracting Birds activities to read online. Movie requires QuickTime. For details on using Annie’s Books Online, click here.
Desktop version of Bird Math activities link: countingBirdsDesktop.zip Bird Math activities to read from the desktop using a web browser. Movie requires QuickTime. For details on using Annie’s Desktop Books, click here.
CountingBirds.pdf (2.2 MB) Counting Birds book to print. No movies. Acrobat Reader.
CountingBirdsClickerMac.zip (21.3 MB) Counting Birds activities, including Counting Birds, Adding Birds, and Subtracting Birds in Clicker 5 MAC. Has QuickTime movie.
CountingBirdsClickWin.zip (16.9 MB) Counting Birds activities, including Counting Birds, Adding Birds, and Subtracting Birds in Clicker 5 WIN. Has WMV movie.
CountingBirdsSuite.zip (75.3 MB) Bird Math activities, including Counting Birds, Adding Birds, Subtracting Birds, and Bird Math Template in Classroom Suite v.3 or later. Custom IntelliKeys overlay is attached.
CountBirdsDynavox.zip (511 KB) Bird Math activities overlays, including Counting Birds, Adding Birds, Subtracting Birds, and Bird Math Template overlays saved as Dynavox package files.
CountingBirdsHS.zip (51.8 MB) Bird Math activities, including Counting Birds, Adding Birds, and Subtracting Birds in HyperStudio 5.
CountingBirdsMBS.zip (16.2 MB) Folder with Counting Birds book and movie to import into My Own Bookshelf.
CountingBirdsPPT.zip (10.8 MB) Counting Birds interactive book saved as a .ppt file. Movie in the same folder PowerPoint 2003 or later.
BirdSounds.zip 2.5 MB) Goldfinch sounds of from 1-10 birds, each sound in both .mp3 and .wav.